The treatment of cough: a comprehensive review

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Date: June 1991
From: Chest(Vol. 99, Issue 6)
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Document Type: Article
Length: 5,321 words

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Abstract :

Coughing is an important defense mechanism for clearing the throat and lungs of unwanted substances. Also, it can serve as an indicator of disease. However, the act of coughing can strain the lungs, heart, muscles and nervous system. Chronic persistent cough, lasting several weeks, is one of the most common reasons people seek medical care. To determine the reasons why people with chronic cough seek medical treatment, a survey of 108 patients with chronic cough was performed. The most common reasons given included fear that something was wrong, exhaustion, insomnia, hoarseness, dizziness, headache, and fear of cancer, AIDS or tuberculosis. There are many different drugs available for the treatment of cough. These drugs either control or prevent coughing (antitussive drugs) or they make the cough more effective in removing mucus from the lungs (protussive drugs). Antitussive drugs are used when the reason for the cough is unknown and the cough is not performing a useful function, such as clearing the lungs. Examples of antitussive drugs that have been shown to be effective in controlling coughing include dextromethorphan, codeine, diphenhydramine, and caramiphen. Dextromethorphan is one of the most common antitussive drugs found in over-the-counter cough syrups. Most cough syrups that contain antitussive drugs are advertised as cough suppressants. Protussive drugs are indicated when coughing performs a useful function but is not effective in completely clearing the lungs. Guaifenesin is the most common protussive drug found in cough syrups sold in the United States. Most cough syrups that contain protussive drugs have the word expectorant written on the label. (Consumer Summary produced by Reliance Medical Information, Inc.)

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A10948293